In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. The act of providing testimony is to testify. It is often mentioned, in addition, that the word 'testify' originates from Roman times when it was customery for men to vouch for others by swearing on their testicles, or to 'testify'.
In the law, testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. Testimony may be oral or written, and it is usually made by oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury. Unless a witness is testifying as an expert witness, testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is generally limited to those opinions or inferences that are rationally based on the perceptions of the witness and are helpful to a clear understanding of the witness' testimony.
A subpoena commands a person to appear. It is compulsory to comply.
When a witness is asked a question, the opposing attorney can raise an objection (, ) preferably before the witness answers, and mentioning one of the standard reasons, including:
- asked and answered
- calls for speculation
- calls for a conclusion
- compound question
- irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent
- lack of foundation
There may also be an objection to the answer, including:
In religion, testimony generally involves an inward belief or outward profession of faith or of personal religious experience. In some religions (most notably Mormonism and Islam) many adherents testify as a profession of their faith, often to a congregation of believers. In Mormonism, testifying is also referred to as "bearing one's testimony," and often involves the sharing of personal experience—ranging from a simple anecdote to an account of personal revelation—followed by a statement of belief that has been confirmed by this experience. In addition to outward professions of faith, testimony also may refer to an inwardly-held belief, even if not shared.